Arusha, February 5, 2003 (FH)- The former Prefect of Butare (southern Rwanda), Colonel Alphonse Nteziryayo, allegedly ordered people who had taken young Tutsi girls as wives during the 1994 genocide to “hand them over to be killed or die with them”. The allegations were made by the 27th prosecution witness at the International Criminal Tribunal for Rwanda (ICTR), where Nteziryayo is standing trial with five others in the so-called Butare trial.

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They are charged with genocide and crimes against humanity committed in Butare between April and July 1994. The witness, code-named “QAF” to protect his identity, told the tribunal that the prefect had made the threats during a meeting he chaired in Muganza commune on June 22, 1994. The meeting allegedly brought together many officials and residents of the commune who had come to witness the installation of Elie Ndayambaje as mayor. Ndayambaje, who had previously served as mayor of the commune for many years, is also in the dock with Nteyiryayo. “He thanked the people for having ‘worked well' (euphemism for killing Tutsis),” said the witness. He continued that the prefect then warned some young men who had taken Tutsi girls under their wings and protecting them to hand them over or be killed. The young men had allegedly taken the girls for wives and had threatened to kill anyone who came to take them away. “Those cannot be your wives”, Col. Nteziryayo allegedly said, adding “how can you kill their parents and then consider them to be your wives?”. He then ordered the young men to give up the girls to be killed. Witness QAF went on to say that the newly installed mayor added his support to the prefect directive comparing the girls to “dirt”. “Once one has swept out dirt from one's house, one does not bring it back into the sitting room”, Ndayambaje allegedly said, “You sweep the dirt out and leave it there”. The witness continued that the girls were rounded up right away and killed. Apart from Alphonse Nteziryayo and Elie Ndayambaje, the so-called “Butare trial” groups together the former of the former minister of Family and Women Affairs, Pauline Nyiramasuhuko, her son Arsene Shalom Ntahobali, another former prefect of Butare Sylvain Nsabimana and the former mayor of Ngoma commune, Joseph Kanyabashi. All have pleaded not guilty to all charges. Earlier in the day, defence counsels finished cross-examining witness “TB” in a bid to blow holes into her testimony. Most of the cross-examination was held in closed session. TB had mostly implicated Arsene Shalom Ntahobali for sexually assaulting Tutsi girls during the genocide at a roadblock he manned outside his parents' residence. The trial continues on Friday in trial Chamber Two of the ICTR composed of Judge William Hussein Sekule of Tanzania (presiding), and Judges Arlette Ramaroson from Madagascar and Solomy Balungi Bossa of Uganda. . KN/CE/FH (BT''0205e)